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SHERMAN FIREFLY - AN ICONIC BEAUTY

EDS HISTORIC STUFF sherman firefly

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Poll: Where does the Firefly belong? (238 members have cast votes)

What tier do you think the Firefly should be?

  1. Tier 5 (17 votes [7.14%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 7.14%

  2. Tier 6 (168 votes [70.59%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 70.59%

  3. Tier 7 (53 votes [22.27%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 22.27%

Should the Firefly be a dedicated TD or Med?

  1. Make it a TD (67 votes [28.15%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 28.15%

  2. Make it a Med? (167 votes [70.17%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 70.17%

  3. See below (4 votes [1.68%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 1.68%

Would you add the Firefly to your garage

  1. Yes (200 votes [84.03%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 84.03%

  2. No (38 votes [15.97%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 15.97%

Vote Hide poll

A_Headless_Chicken #1 Posted 03 March 2013 - 07:57 PM

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SHERMAN FIREFLY

An Iconic beauty

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Evening peeps

It’s been a while so I thought I would dig out some info on another famous and iconic tank from WW2, a vehicle that along with the Spitfire and Hurricane is easily one of the most recognizable and beloved machines used by the English and her allies in the war. Hopefully we will not only look at the history behind this legendary tank killer, but also discuss how it will be best used in WOT, at what tiers and with what tactics you the players think would be best.

HISTORY

The Firefly as tank destroyers go it almost never happened, the Brits had for a long time been trying to mount the 17 pounder (76.2mm) into a turreted tank in order to have a weapon capable of engaging and destroying heavy German armor, while several versions of the 17pdr had been mounted on turret-less tank destroyer’s and tested on Cromwell and other cruiser type chassis, the results had been thus far disappointing. The Sherman had already been rejected as a suitable carrier for the 17 pounder guns and where it not for men like Major Brighty and Colonel Witheridge along with a particularly cunning engineer from Vickers the whole notion may have been passed by, however these men clearly believed the Sherman could mount the huge 17 pounder gun if a few changes were made and they were about to prove their detractors wrong



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Major Brighty had been working with mounting 17pounder guns on various vehicles notably the A30 at Lulworth gunnery range and firmly believed the Sherman could in theory mount the 17pdr gun but the recoil from the huge breech was too big for the standard turret preventing this amalgamation taking place. The Major in an effort to mount this weapon tried removing all the recoil systems from the gun and had it hard fixed into the turret with the ring and cast taking all the recoil, and while this solution has been known to work on some of the case mounted TD’s of the day; it would not work on the Sherman, the colossal recoil of the 17pdr simply shook the poor thing apart. It was the arrival of Lt.Col. George Witheridge from the RTR that altered Brighty’s ability to see a 17pdr mounted in a Sherman.

Witheridge had been a veteran of the Nt Africa campaign where he had seen the one sided battles between Rommel’s superior guns and PaK’s facing the British armor, he himself was blown out of his M3 Grant (think M3 Lee with extra tea making equipment) being unable to return to active duty he was sent to America to help advise on gunnery, and it was there that he started to champion the American tanks, on returning to Ol Blighty he met up with the Major at Lulworth and together decided to work together on up arming the Sherman.





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Eventually both men were told to stand down and leave the Sherman idea alone, it was then that the Lt pulled out his ace in the hole and began to make various calls to connections he had made while serving, amongst these were Maj Gen Briggs Director of the armored Corp and Claude Gibb Director of the Ministry of Supply, the idea was passed and the project was taken out of the hands of “amateurs” and given to professional tank designers.

The missing ingredient to success came in the shape of Mr. W Kilbourne; a Vickers engineer attached to the tank design unit at Chertsey. The engineer approached the complex solution in several different ways. Firstly he noted that the standard hydro pneumatic recoil of the 17pdr was 40inches; this being far too long for the Sherman’s turret. He started by replacing these with shorter recoil tubes mounted to the sides, above and below the gun centerline in a specially crafted cradle. After this had been altered the engineer noted that the gun was now behaving erratically, and guessed correctly that this was due to it no longer having the same balance as the conventional field piece due to its re-modification. Having made the back of the gun shorter and lighter he now had to find a way to re-balance the tube, the option of increasing the breach and rear was out of the question so he next looked at altering the barrel.





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Mr. Kilbourne realized that the gun would now need to be of a set diameter all the way down the barrel, by taking the tubes and running them though a lathe he would refine the chase of the barrel (the large part tapering towards the breech) so that the gun was of a uniform diameter along the length. This solved the balance issues of the gun but still led to many other issues in mounting it in the Sherman they did however finally have a gun that would fit into the turret of the Sherman. A new mantlet was redesigned to accept the cradle and barrel, these parts were so extensively modified it was deemed cheaper to manufacture them from scratch rather than alter the imported American pieces they had in stock, the custom made piece here were thicker than the standard Sherman mantlet by 13mm.

The gun itself was the swiveled to the left, this meant that the loader situated to that side had an easier job in loading the large shells, but again as with all things Firefly it caused its own set of problems; the breach mechanism and guard rail were still so big they separated the turret into two distinct portions, this had the repercussions in the event of the Firefly being hit and catching fire; the loader had to climb under the breech, wiggle past the commanders chair and get out of his hatch  within the few seconds; before being burned alive. To make life easier and in many instances more permanent for the loader; a new hatch was allocated above him and the gunner allowing them to escape the tank intact.





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(rare captured firefly used by Wermacht)


Other modifications included removing the radios (No’s 19 and 38) which were mounted on wall brackets behind the breech of a conventional Sherman. (the loader was also the radio man and while there is no written case of the firefly recoil hitting the radio, one can presume the operator didn’t want to be taking a call behind it when it went off) instead they placed it in a rear turret bustle. Access to the radio was though a large whole roughly cut into the back of the turret separating the two parts.

Finally the Sherman hull gunner was removed and the space used to store even more round’s for the 17pdr, some hulls retained the MG in situ even if only a fake barrel to deter infantry others were missing. It may have been the crew’s way of trying to keep their firefly looking as much like a standard M4 as possible and we will look into this later. In WOT the Devs may well add ammo to the lower right hull so be prepared for a few hits in this area.





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Sherman Firefly with disguised gun: Canadian 5th armoured division Sherman Firefly in Holland, 1945
with massess of luck bits attached to the outside

The Firefly’s were ready for Normandy and proved an instant success, able to engage German heavy tanks such as the Panther and Tiger at equal combat ranges and penetrate them with relative ease on well-placed shots, the Firefly became a much sought after commodity and while they had no other bonuses over the regular Sherman in the way of armor or mobility, they did offer firepower equalize the imbalance that had been the status quo thus far.  what has never been established and may never be known is where the name Firefly came from or when it became the accepted title of the tank, no official documents mention it and other names noted were “Mayfly” so it may have been lost in translation, the semiofficial title for the tank was Sherman VC where V stood for the general mark ie Sherman Mk V and the C stood for vehicles mounting other weapons; such as support howitzers or a 17pdr type gun. What was and is know is they were able to turn the tide of battle against Heavy German tanks, those very vehicles the Reich could not afford to lose.


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Canadian Firefly, note their over zealous use of track links, helmets, luck horseshoes etc
FIREPOWER

The main gun on the firefly is the 17pdr gun; one of the most powerful guns made in WW2. Having higher pen than the 88mm KwK 36 fitted on the Tiger and the 75mm KwK 42 on the Panther tank The 17pdr using Armor Piercing Capped Ballistic Capped Ammo was able to penetrate over 140mm of armor at 500m and 131mm at 1000 meters when located at a 30 deg angle. When firing Armor Piercing Discarding Sabot (Gold) rounds it was easily capable of slicing through 210mm of amour at 500m and 192 at 1000m, if angled at 30 degrees giving it the ability to defeat any German armor at range with the possible exception of the Tiger 2 at certain angles and the Jagdtiger at range.

As often mentioned by many players the APDS rounds were not very accurate in the early days and did a lot less kinetic damage but had much better AP than standard rounds (and yes this was suggested and no they didn’t, moving on) while these rounds were rare, they were not in massive demands for the firefly, who at combat ranges in the French boccage countryside and fields were easily able so spank any Tiger who had not been paying close attention to their Intel briefs.
Indeed the firefly’s primary weakness was against German infantry in the Normandy countryside, with most knocked out Fireflies put down to the tenacious German infantryman and his Panzerfaust or AT grenades with hidden Pak’s classed as a major threat.

The reason behind these soft targets being more dangerous to the Firefly than other tanks was down to the 17pdr and its lack of effective HE shell. (it’s worth noting the early British tank guns had good AP and poor HE and 3-4 years later they had done a full roundhouse and come back to having a great tank gun, with poor HE rounds) while later HE shells were made, they were in limited number as the Firefly was only ever to be used as a stop gap on the way to the Universal tank and therefore starting a HE shell production line was not marked up as important. The fact they were missing a MG to the fore; allowed infantry to assault from the front if the turret was facing away. As a result of this and mounting losses Each firefly was attached to a troop of M4’s or Cromwell’s to form a small platoon; able to deal with any threat be it armored or soft. The HE shell on the Sherman was very effective against softer targets and the AP shell from the firefly would put heed to any sneaky plans Jerry had about utilizing armor.









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Secondary issues raised by crew were the large amount of dust and smoke the gun kicked up this made the fall of shot hard for the gunner to trace and adjust too, as well as reveling which of the Sherman’s packed the big gun; something of obvious interest to any German field guns. The flash was so powerful that supporting infantry at night would be blinded or stunned by it while the crew had to close their eyes and cough when firing to stop the flash damaging their eyes and lung ailments from the huge pressure effects of the gun being fired, often described as getting winded, the recoil from the 17pdr was enough to knock a man of his feet when fired in an open space, cooped up in a turret it as a terrible price to pay for the advantage it gave.

Stats wise the firefly was able to put out (for a TD) a good rate of fire of 10 rounds per minute when firing APCBC from its Mk IV or VII QF 76.2mm guns. Accuracy wise it was good but not as pinpoint as some German weapons or the field gun version, it was however considered accurate up to 2000 meters where it would still penetrate the front of a Tiger tank.
77 rounds were carried in the turret ring and the hull and these were a mix of about 50/50 AP/HE with a few APDS been kept onboard for special circumstances, secondary armament consisted of a .30 Mg in the turret, co-axial to the main gun, and a .50 on the turret roof although this was often removed. Rounds for Mgs were usually capped at 5000.







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ARMOR, MOBILITY, MODIFICATIONS AND VARIANTS

As with the Sherman armor was not the greatest of the Firefly’s strengths and mobility is the same as the standard Sherman so little needs to be written on these individual aspects other than the basics.
The amour of the Sherman firefly, with exception of the turret mantlet was the same as the standard Sherman’s (and by that we mean comparatively inadequate) however the overall stats are very familiar to those of you who have an interest in this vehicle or indeed had the time or privilege to drive one. Overall the vehicle is the same length (without gun) at 6.5 meters long and with gun 7.82 meters. Width is the same as the Mk V at 2.67 meters and the height coming in at 2.74 meters (still fairly high for a Medium tank)


The armor on the front hull is 51mm angled back at between 45 degrees and 90 degrees, with the large slab like hull sides (90Deg) coming in at 38mm. Hull rear is 38mm but slopes back and down at 70 degrees towards the base. From the top you have 25mm of armor at degrees and thinner on the hatches. The turret front is between 38mm and 76mm with angles of 85- 90 degrees however the mantlet itself is a further 89mm thick offering the best protection on the tank.
The turret rear  is 64mm thick and the turret bustle has no armor to speak of, also its worth noting although probably overlooked that there is a big hole from the back of the bustle into the back of the turret and this would be a weak shot to an amazingly well placed lucky shot. The sides are 58mm this and have angling of 85 degrees.


The engine for the Firefly was the Chrysler Multibank A57 30-cylinder petrol engine delivering 443 metric Bhp at 2,850rpm  gave the Firefly a HP/ton ratio of about 12.5, which was somewhat on the low side, but still manoeuvrable enough for a 1940’s tank. Road speed was between 36 and (some claim) 40 kph but the average good cross country speed was closer too 17kph . large fuel tanks which were gasoline based were located lower and too the back of the vehicle stored 604 litres and gave the tank 3lts/km or enough for about 145 km overall. The Firefly did have same propensity to burn as the regular Sherman when hit and set alight

There were several attempts at disguising the firefly in the field, from extensive adaptive camouflage and covering the vehicle in branches to painting the barrels a lighter shade half way up, this had the effect of making the barrel look shorter and confusing enemy gunners from a distance, Fireflies were prime targets for a good AT crew and the crew would add and alter as much as they could to draw fire away from them, this is known as counter shadowing.
Some tankers, notably the Canadians would cover their Fireflies in as much standoff or applique armor including extra track links as possible, with some Canadian models being coated in spare track.


The crews were particularly superstitious about what could and could not be put on a firefly and how it was to be placed. When questioned some crew swore by having the track links facing inwards or outwards, some preferred them welded, others loose and hanging. Many officers tried to ban this process as it weighted the vehicle down and used extra fuel, however the crews would largely ignore any orders and keep their fireflies dressed as they wished.
There were limited variants of the Firefly, as the tank itself was always a stopgap. Notably various versions of the tank were made, notably different marks and models including the Canadian Grizzly tank that was upgraded (although I do not believe these saw any combat service)


Notable differences between the Fireflies and the regular Sherman are numerous and if the Devs have got it right the following bits should stand out: Additional fittings for additional track should be modeled on the from and sides of the hull, and indeed extra track fitted should be modeled. Fire extinguishers or clamps can be located on the back of the hull beside the engine deck plates. a large stowage box can be seen on the back hull and smoke generators can be seen on the back engine hatches.

Additional towing lugs can be seen depending on the model, these were used for keeping the vehicle attached to landing craft when deep wading was needed ( I’m not sure if they were ever used? ) The turret is also quite distinctive the mount for the mantlet is a modified M34A1 variant. The large turret bustle is a giveaway. And the dual hatches for commander and gunner/loader.

Otherwise it’s just the obvious stuff, such as long barrel, distinctive muzzelbreak ect.
One notable modification was the Firefly Tulip these were fitted for the Rhine crossing where it was expected that the tanks would be facing massed opposition and numerous dug in points. A Squadron from the Cold stream guards had the turrets of their Fireflies upgraded with two 27kg HE 3” rockets on either side, while not as accurate as when fired from Typhoon’s or Beaufighters, they were nether the less still very effective or at least dramatic when/if they hit their targets

FIREFLY IN WOT
The Firefly will be arriving in the next batch of British tanks, however much remains a mystery to where she is and what she will be, with developers checking and fiddling with plans so much even rumors get overwritten quickly. I do not know what tier the Firefly will be although 5 or 6 would be ideal, more or less would be Op or Up in WOT. I do not know if they will make it a TD in the same line as the Achilles or A30 or keep it as a Med tank (hopefully a TD but who knows) the Firefly id a TD would be good as a tier 5 imho. Many TD’s can have guns 2 tiers above their equal tier, and the Firefly has a couple of distinct barrels to upgrade from (Mk IV and VII) along with engine upgrades.


One tactic that might work as well in WOT as WW2 is the platooning up with regular Sherman’s, the extra 2 derp guns couples with a long 17pdr give a Platoon of Sherman’s lethal firepower, able to accurately engage at long range and pen all armor at range and close. The Firefly can engage any heavy tank at range keeping them mobile, and if they get too close the Derp’o’matic guns on the M4’s can finish of the prey. If the firefly is placed at tier 6 this will work with the Jumbo’s with similar effects. While the Firefly could pair up with Cromwell’s or E8’s in the game this does have issues notably speed and formation. While with Sherman you are all approximately the same ROF/speed etc. for optimal damage output.

Well I hope you liked my little foray into the Firefly, and maybe you will get yourself one when they make it, maybe you have your own ideas how it will be used or maybe how you want it too look, if you have any interesting and hard to find facts about the Firefly please feel free to share. Ive put a poll on this to see where people want the Firefly to be and how she should be used  – as always let me know your feedback – ed





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Moved to historical vehicles discussion IPaul72

Edited by IPaul72, 04 March 2013 - 09:03 AM.


Wild_Butter #2 Posted 03 March 2013 - 08:03 PM

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if this will be included into game it will be prem I think..

Rautaa #3 Posted 03 March 2013 - 08:04 PM

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I know a lot of people think this is blasphemy, but...

I think it would be easier to balance into the 2nd TD line. It will be underarmoured and too immobile to work as a medium tank at the appropriate tiers for the 17pdr.

A_Headless_Chicken #4 Posted 03 March 2013 - 08:12 PM

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Apologies for the large gaps and random spaces that keep appearing, I am trying to fix it but WG don’t appear to have anybody on their Paris staff that maintains the forums weird mechanics, they have moderators to check content but alas I’ve grown sick of asking questions about the forums engine/mechanics or why various things tend to go squffiy and not work ( guys if you are employing somebody; fire them they don’t answer questions and are too slow to justify a wage ) I will try and add more images and a video later - rant over/peace out ed

Ioituma #5 Posted 03 March 2013 - 08:12 PM

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Could be a Wolverine-like TD yep.

dUG1 #6 Posted 03 March 2013 - 08:13 PM

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Voted for tier 6 medium tank, but lets be honest - if it gets there, it will be borderline OP, unless they give it crap mobility, RoF and other soft stats.

So...tier 7 medium, or tier 6 TD looks more realistic, but lets see what they come up with.

NatteFrost #7 Posted 03 March 2013 - 08:14 PM

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for balance issues, if its going to be a med it would prolly be a t8 since its cannon is too powerfull for anything below, or t6/7 as a td.

any lowet tier for it and the gun would need a a nerf, and then the point of the tank is gone imo.

BravelyRanAway #8 Posted 03 March 2013 - 08:25 PM

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Nice write up, quite enjoyed it, thank's. :Smile_great: +1

_Aztec_ #9 Posted 03 March 2013 - 08:38 PM

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Looks cool, but how does it differ from the Easy 8? Basicly the same 76mm gun and same hull.

Rautaa #10 Posted 03 March 2013 - 08:50 PM

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View Post_Aztec_, on 03 March 2013 - 08:38 PM, said:

Looks cool, but how does it differ from the Easy 8? Basicly the same 76mm gun and same hull.

Really? Tell me more how the 76 mm Gun M1A2 has 171 penetration and does 150 damage per shot?

A_Headless_Chicken #11 Posted 03 March 2013 - 08:56 PM

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View Post_Aztec_, on 03 March 2013 - 08:38 PM, said:

Looks cool, but how does it differ from the Easy 8? Basicly the same 76mm gun and same hull.

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKKKK

No the 17 pdr is nothing like the 76mm gun from a standard Sherman. u shall be forgiven for your heresy this once my child.

Cpl_Steiner #12 Posted 03 March 2013 - 11:53 PM

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Want.....

IBLiTZKRiEGI #13 Posted 04 March 2013 - 12:18 AM

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Give it the 17 Pdr the Black Prince has, with 171 pen.

Make it Tier V, but give it a slow RoF, maybe 6/7 rounds a minute.

Fullgatsu #14 Posted 04 March 2013 - 12:42 AM

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View PostIBLiTZKRiEGI, on 04 March 2013 - 12:18 AM, said:

Give it the 17 Pdr the Black Prince has, with 171 pen.

Make it Tier V, but give it a slow RoF, maybe 6/7 rounds a minute.

That would be really crappy dpm though, not sure that would be so fun to play with. I would like it a tier 6 as M4 Sherman with a healt pool boost to 720 or something and the 17 pdr having a rate of fire around 11 I think that sound decently balanced. The 17 pdr is on the S-35 CA on tier 5 so it if it shows up on a medium on the next tier it should be pretty balanced.

VeryRisky #15 Posted 04 March 2013 - 07:15 AM

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I think they suggested there would bae a British "Lend-Lease" line and this tank would be included there.

Rautaa #16 Posted 04 March 2013 - 07:56 AM

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View PostVeryRisky, on 04 March 2013 - 07:15 AM, said:

I think they suggested there would bae a British "Lend-Lease" line and this tank would be included there.

It still doesn't improve the balance issue: how do you combine a tier 5 hull with tier 7-8 firepower? The easiest answer would be TD.

Lend-lease line could never be extended to tier 10 right? Or would it also include various high-tier export/Commonwealth designs?

However, the turreted TD-line has a lot of promise and a rather large fan-base. I have my own cow in this ditch, and her name is Charioteer.

Kyphe #17 Posted 04 March 2013 - 11:00 AM

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T6 or T7 med in fact it could be both as there were three models of firefly.

firefly was never a TD, Achilles was a 17pdr armed M4 TD, Avenger was a 17pdr armed Challenger based TD.

I am well and truly sick of this garbage TD Idea.

The 17pdr is a T7 gun with a lower DPM than the T6 M1A2 on the easy8 there is no balance issue

Edited by Kyphe, 04 March 2013 - 11:03 AM.


tango_delta #18 Posted 04 March 2013 - 01:59 PM

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Looking at wiki there are few 17-pounders for the british already. I take it that the 17-pounder we are talking about here is the one used on black prince?
Tier   Name							  Ammo	Damage				Penetration			Rof					Accuracy Aim Time Weight	 Compatibility
VII	OQF 17-pdr Gun Mk. VII	70-84	150/150/190 HP	171/239/38 mm	12-14.29 r/m	0.34 m	1.9-2.3s	 826 kg	Black Prince, Centurion Mk. I, Caernarvon

So at tier 5 that gun is too too good. At tier 6 it would work out as td or even at tier 7 if you give the tank decent mobility. T25/2 for example has just 170mm pen at tier 7 and it is perfectly fine because it has relatively good mobility, turret and gun depression. I think at tier 7 it could be a really fun tank with good rof and mobility. At tier 6 it might take too big sacrifices to make the gun balanced with the tank at that tier.

Victorious_Nox #19 Posted 04 March 2013 - 05:00 PM

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anyone who thinks its a TD deserves their eyes to be washed with bleach.



grrrrrrrrr.

Fullgatsu #20 Posted 04 March 2013 - 05:39 PM

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View Posttango_delta, on 04 March 2013 - 01:59 PM, said:

So at tier 5 that gun is too too good. At tier 6 it would work out as td or even at tier 7 if you give the tank decent mobility. T25/2 for example has just 170mm pen at tier 7 and it is perfectly fine because it has relatively good mobility, turret and gun depression. I think at tier 7 it could be a really fun tank with good rof and mobility. At tier 6 it might take too big sacrifices to make the gun balanced with the tank at that tier.

The T25/2 have much higher alpha though with 240 damage, it wouldn't be as good if it would have to fire almost twice as many times for the damage. Also that gun isn't that unbalanced for tier 5 as a very similar 17 pdr is on that tier on the S-35 CA 17 pdr AT Gun MK.II 150/150/190 HP 171/239/38 mm 11.11 r/m 0.36 m 2.3s. That gun on a M4 chassi at tier 5 would however be unbalanced but as tier 6 medium I think it's a great match give it the same stats as a tier 5 M4 Sherman with a health pool around 720, while having great penetration for it's tier its damage is in line with oter tier 6 mediums the chassi would be the weakest of the tier 6 mediums with no armor to really speak about and its mobility would leave a bit to be desired compared to many other tier 6 mediums.

As tier 7 medium that chassi seems way to weak and the gun sin't that interesting to make it tier 7 TD, it could work as tier 6 TD but that gun isn't that spectacular as a tier 6 TD gun.




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